Copywriting Master John Carlton on How to Write Copy That Forces People to Buy from You

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXtdZ7ShlmU

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Hello ninjas and then jets welcome to another episode of the exposure ninja digital marketing podcast my name is Tim
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I'm head ninja at exposure ninja and best-selling digital marketing author this show is all about helping you to
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generate more leads and sales through your website and boy we have a treat for you today the absolute legend one and
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only direct response copywriting hero John Carlton has come on to the show now for those of you who don't know John
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he's one of a kind of a list of direct response copywriters who was active back in the day of direct mail and magazine
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ads and newspaper ads and infomercials and these guys were they're responsible for some of the most powerful adverts of
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all time and he'll talk through some of these during the show if you're watching this on YouTube we've got an extra
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special treat for you because we're actually going to show you some of the ads that he wrote so we're gonna show
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you on the screen as the podcast is playing so you can see the sorts of stocks it's one thing to talk about
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these ads but if you actually see them you'll see that the style is is unlike anything that you see online today
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it absolutely grabs your attention and it's the most interesting thing you'll read all day which is when he talks to
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you that's exactly what he was going for so real chance to learn from a true legend and take those principles that
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were so well established and so effective in infomercials Direct Mail magazine and newspaper ads and translate
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them to today's world of Facebook ads YouTube videos website copy you know how do we use these things and actually what
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he says is actually the principles haven't really changed we just need to tweak the usage slightly so fascinating
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guy some great stories and I think you'll really enjoy them of course if you want help with your digital
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marketing then you can request your free web site and digital marketing review from the ninjas here at exposure ninja
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so all you need to do is head over to exposure ninja comm tell us a little bit about your business and we'll conduct a
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review of your website your marketing and your competitors and we'll give you a prioritized action plan that you can
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follow over the next 6 or 12 months to significantly increase your leads and sales through your website so it's
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completely free of charge you go to exposure ninja comm and then you can go forward slash review and just fill in
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the form and request your review anyway without further ado I want to unleash the legend John Carlton welcome to the
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show John okay for a bit of a swollen head I've been
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following you for a long time you're widely regarded is one of the world's leading direct-response copywriters
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working about alongside people like Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert in fact Gary once wrote about you in his letter said
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something very nice so firstly thank you for coming onto the show to share your experience with direct-response copy
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perhaps for people who are used to thinking of copiers a tool to make websites ranked you come from a very
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different place then you come from place where copy is actually used to persuade people to buy so perhaps we can start by
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your definition of what makes good copy well I am old school I have a foot in both worlds the old school world of
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Direct Mail print advertising and really face to face salesmanship and I was a very early adopter of online marketing I
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was one of the first guys on the web my blog goes back to 2004 so I've been I've been an enthusiastic participant in both
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of those worlds and the one thing that hasn't changed in copy is the fact that it is salesmanship in print that that
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was coined a long time ago a lot of the copywriters to the top copywriters you'll meet or you'll hear from or
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probably deal with if you start to get into what we call the a-list which are writers that you can just go to you're
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going to pay a lot of money if they're going to make the stuff work really well they are all steeped in writing about
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copy that goes back to the 1920s and even earlier Claude Hopkins wrote in the 1920s and if there's like a secret Club
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of direct-response copywriters who are really interested in what what the older principles are because those principles
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never changed we we talk about somebody once found out that they were actually used chariot salesmen in ancient Rome
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and we imagine they were using the same tactics that people use now to sell used cars there's there's a certain way to
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persuade a human being and the general thing that we call it is salesmanship but really you're taken a human being is
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one of the most reluctant stubborn skeptical animals on the planet it's almost impossible to get them to just do
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what you want them to do so learning salesmanship is about learning persuasion it's about learning how to
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bond and especially for direct response how to incite action whether it is click on this link or buy this product or move
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to the next step in the process whatever it is you have to get people often they're asked to be able to
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do that I talked about the typical client being a Sonnambula blob welded to the couch so firmly that he wouldn't you
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know move to escape a burning house and you have to get him to pick up the phone or click on a link or somehow get his
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wallet out and pull out his credit card and start is start to make the buying decisions that that make a business
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thrive and it's not something simple it's very easy to get someone to say yeah you know that that's a pretty good
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offer you got there that's that's pretty neat maybe someday down the road what I really really needed I think maybe I'll
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remember give it a try that's easy to get to much harder is to get them to that oh wait on a second let me get my
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credit card out don't you dare go away will I while I punch in all the numbers a huge territory between those two
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states and most people only get to that point of just having people say yeah that's a really good product you got
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there and they don't go any further so direct response is all about inciting action and it's not a simple thing to do
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sure um I guess these days you know agencies like us are partly guilty of fueling this we're told that everything
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has changed in marketing you know marketing 2.0 the marketing 3.0 and how this new Facebook Ads thing has come and
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just changed everything yeah how much in your opinion has actually changed since the days of Claude Hopkins or since the
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days of infomercial when it comes to copy and what actually makes people buy not a lot I have 20 year actually bolder
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than 25 and even 30 year old ads that are still generating royalties for me they started out as direct mail pieces
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or print ads in magazines or newspapers they when the web got going in the early aughts they got changed to web copy
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pretty much verbatim and then when video sales letters started being the thing they got changed to video sales letters
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very few changes in the copy the only changes in the copy were the response elements it's like here's what you need
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to do now so rather than fill out this coupon or call this 800 number it's click on this link and things like that
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so no changes on these things are still running they run regularly I get checks every month for them and so there and
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nothing's really changed what are the advantages of understanding direct response copywriting is that most of the
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advertising world has no clue what it's about they they certainly toss the phrase around and they can even talk
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about maybe they've read a few books but they don't understand all of the implications and it's why the top direct
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response copywriters are the highest paid writers in the world because they know how to translate good salesmanship
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into print and make it work so the differences that have happened have yes there's the difference in in attention
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spans yet a lot of the vs ELLs go up to 30 minutes there's a by the way I've changed my writing is I used to write
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older writers like me we're trained to respect space because if you had an extra page and a direct mail piece or
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you had a or your ad went longer in say a print ad in a magazine or newspaper you had to pay for that so we we tended
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to write in large paragraphs and we tended to block things together on line you don't have to do that space is a
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luxury that we all enjoy so I've gone to almost single sentence paragraphs and zipping people down because I want them
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to move you know I want them to go down I know page and another page and other pages
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they go I want to make it a breathless ride so certainly that it has changed but otherwise oh it's almost identical
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to what it was before the web the main thing people don't understand about online marketing is that the web is just
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a vehicle for your little salesman your ads or your little tiny salesman and when there was direct mail you put your
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little salesman in an envelope and send them out into the world when they were magazine ad you put them inside the
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magazine and send them out to all people who read the magazine now online you put them either in an email and send them
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out or you put them online and send direct traffic to it but it's the same thing the the web is just a vehicle
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there will be other vehicles coming along soon the only thing we haven't conquered is smell so if you know the
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next big thing will be computers that can actually have smell involved which would be great for advertisers because
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smell certain smells generate memories and you can block people into NLP you know memory sequences and things like
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that so but otherwise it's just the web is a great vehicle because it combines visual it combines AV audio audio visual
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if you could have just writing you can have streaming your video you can all kinds of different ways of doing it it's
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still just a medium it's not that much different than television in print advertising and door-to-door people you
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know knocking on the door and talking to you does that make sense yeah absolutely this aluminum blob just has a phone
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rather than a TV remote controller a newspaper completely that's right so let's let's talk about website copy
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specifically so website copies is often an afterthought we have a page that's designed and we know we need to fill it
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with some kind of tags if we apply the the principles that you're talking about an invite good salesmanship in print on
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a website what sort of difference can that make to the performance of a website also people think about you know
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things like layout and having a nice clear call-to-action those are things that make an impact on a website but
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actually if we look at the copy what's the impact that good coppy can have on a website's
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performance you know you talking about you know putting blocks of coffee and that takes
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him back to some of my first jobs back in the 1980s when I would go in and I would have to work with designers when I
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was working with agencies and writing and the designer would present me a design and say here's where the coffee
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goes he'd give me a little tiny space and this huge ad he said I I want coffee to be gray floating blocks of
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distraction and so I he thought that design was going to work and that's when I learned to get a really hardcore about
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stuff I used to get in their faces and they'd have to separate me from the designer I would refuse to work with
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certain guys and I would challenge the client who was the agency to run my copy with no design at all just straight you
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know typed letters versus whatever the other guy do and of course I would win every time and so you do fit you
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eventually develop a a the top writers the a-list as I call them a right to prove themselves you know go to our
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a-list writers they send me some samples maybe we'll hire you go to them and you beg them don't find as open space in
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their calendar oh yeah over the next next year that's their price and the way they get to that point is by winning is
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by is by actually making ads work so yeah the the battle between design and copy
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will never end I used to joke about getting designers fired I was a designer for well I understand the designer
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mindset there are a bunch of designers the top B a list of designers out there work for the largest mailers like like
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oh I don't know if you guys know the financial Giants like Agora publishing and things like that the designers that
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work for those guys are really steeped in direct response and they know that copy is king so they're going to make
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their designs make the copy pop you're going to the designs are going to make make the copy is is the star of the show
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and they're going to make that and everything else it the only job of every other element of the design is to make
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the copy more readable and have more effect so some of these designers come in and they will help the copy they
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start with a pretty much a block a copy that the writer writes and then whether they're doing a vesl or they're doing a
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static page online they will add pictures they will add color they will they will change the fonts they will
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they will indent certain things expand other things that will do other things but it's not for design it's for
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readability and for the salesmanship that's going on so it's kind of like taking a raw Salesman you know I used to
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joke that when I was training people I would rather take a near illiterate salesmen Street salesman and turn him
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into a copywriter than to start with a professor with a you know a professor in a business school who's giving out
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business degrees because he won't know how to sell it's more important to know how to sell you can dress that up you
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can take the illiterate guy teach him to read you can you can change his clothes you can give him a haircut and clean him
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up and put him out there he's going to know how to sell he's going to make that happen you start with the guy that looks
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really good and try to teach him to sell that's a whole different ballgame and that's much much more difficult to do so
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the advantage that direct-response people have is understanding salesmanship
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it's the secret sauce to everything good that happens in business and smart people don't try to don't try to
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throttle that in the least bit yeah sure so does it so for the listener who's thinking of my coffees probably not
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up to scratch what are some of the I guess the biggest sins that you see people making today that they should go
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and look through their website copy just taking it as an example to see if there's anything there that could be
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holding back the performance of their site sure I I deal with this a lot in my coaching and I consult with a lot of
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people and it almost always gets down to the actual copy it's not not being interesting not trying to persuade not
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not bonding with the person not having a conversation read your copy out loud and then imagine your customer each each ad
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that goes out there each time you write something whether it's an email or webpage or video or you send out direct
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mail you're you're handling people one at a time I call that I to that already but it's just basically you and the
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person you're talking to and you're trying to make a sale and the the attitude I want is if you've ever been
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in a room you look over to say you're at a party look over and there's two people with chairs pulled face-to-face they're
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leaning – they're leaning close to each other they're talking in hushed excited tones that's what I want my ads to do I
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want that conversation now in most ads you can only have a one-sided conversation but if you have empathy if
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you understand what's going on in your prospects mind then you can fill in the blanks and you can start to answer their
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questions or or voice their questions so you can say right about now you're thinking I'm full of beans right and
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then you answer that baby a baby monitor yes my little boy Luca is
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that month no we having a great time yeah that's great that's great he's going to be a monster a marketer I can
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tell absolutely yeah so where was L see so that conversation so take your copy whatever it is and imagine you're
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sitting across from one of your hottest prospects and and you're part of the conversation is your copy read it out
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loud and imagine the response that something's going to happen even better take it out and actually actually do it
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to somebody actually read that to somebody and watch what their responses are if they're I start rolling or they
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yawn or they make an excuse but leave the room then you're just you're just talking you're talking at somebody great
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copy is talking with somebody there's bonding going on there's persuasion there's give and take there and again
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tons and tons and tons of empathy and it's a it's a conversation it's a it's a it's two human beings having an
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interaction and most people don't write that way they write in generalities you know or they write in platitudes so they
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where they talk at people and and that's just a no-no have a freaking conversation with the most important
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person in your life right now the prospect who just needs to be convinced enough to click on the link to send you
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his credit card to do whatever the next step is you want if you can't convince a hot prospect to do that with the copy
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you're using you're certainly not going to not you not going to persuade Luke warm or cold prospects
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is it's going to feel quite scary for people to take this approach isn't it because I think there's an expectation
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particularly on the website that everything needs to feel professional and it needs that we need to talk in
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this kind of bland corporate tiring otherwise people are going to think you know less of our companies is that
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something that you find yourself coming up against are you dealing with a lot of large companies like General Motors well
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sometimes large companies do it but also smaller companies can be guilty of this because they look up to the large
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companies and say ah we want to be big like General Motors so we need to talk like that
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so I get this a lot in people people say what about my reputation I can I can't just be colloquial I can't use slang
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stuff what about my reputation my answer is always the same what reputation if unless you're selling the heck out
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unless you are dominant in the market then you don't have a reputation you're trying to get one you're trying to work
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it out I don't care how many years you've been in business if you're going up against stop you know if you have a
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brick-and-mortar store you're trying to sell furniture and you're worried about the way you're phrasing your ads because
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because you see the big furniture store that with you know the big national furniture store not doing that then you
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know you're you're playing a rigged game you're try you're going into their field and trying to play their game and you
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don't know you don't know all the ins and outs make it your own game what is the best way in furniture sales I
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actually worked with a guy at furniture sales many years ago and we got him to start doing really really personal ads
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and he was just right he was having fun with it was making fun of the competition and he and he would do the
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equivalent of of heavy pictures where he was actually Nicene a base sofa you cut the sofa and said this one's on sale you
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know he's it first one down here gets it for 20 bucks and people were flooding a store because they loved salesmanship
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the theater the the drama of it the spectacle so to think that your reputation is going to be harmed your
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reputation matters to one person in your life and that ate your wife that isn't your kids that isn't your buddies down
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at the pub that isn't anybody but the guy who's going to buy your product that's the person you want to worry
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about and he wants to understand who he's dealing with he wants to be able to trust them people like to buy from
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people they understand or think are like them or share their values people like playing talk they they don't like fancy
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language that it's hard to understand they're not impressed with the fact that you can write at a college level
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you know adds it got to be around fifth grade level I don't know what that is in British terms level level five or
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something whatever I think it might be around like yes seven over here says it like 11 or
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12 years old is that right yes cool so I generally write that's not a hard and fast rule I generally write a little
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higher like like if you follow me on Facebook or go to my blog I will generally write to a to a college level
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but only because I'm not selling at that point whenever I write for plan I'm selling I bring it way down and if I
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have to explain something one of the five to use a large word or a phrase an industry phrase that I'm not sure they
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understand that I always follow it with a parenthetical comment that says in plain English that just means and then I
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talk in colloquial terms so always bringing it down to never assume they understand what you're talking about
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you know huge thing that people do is when they think okay I'm going to start talking in slang or I'm going to start
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talking colloquial colloquially and they start using phrases that are only well known among the insiders in the industry
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forgetting that their customers aren't insiders that's why they're coming to you for help or to buy so you got to
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keep explaining them never assume that they're as hip as you are your customer needs something is in some level of
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trauma either because he needs what you have or he's been looking for you haven't ever found it or is worried
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about the consequences of having it or not having it all kinds of things are going on in his head so he's not you
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he's not he's not hip to all the details of this so you got a you got a make all this palatable to him and use language
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to do it yeah for sure I think that approach is also quite disarming isn't it because it makes the reader feel this
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person is just like me and they're not it doesn't feel like I'm being sold to necessarily or it doesn't feel like
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someone's trying to manipulate me because it's all very cloak on plain English people who say don't want to be
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sold it's perfectly understandable and in this modern age we are inundated with with with with ads and people you can't
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turn around you can't even every time the phone rings now with it could be a robo call you know over over here in the
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states where we get 70% of the calls receiving our cell phones are robo calls trying to sell us
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or trying to scam us on on credit card stuff it's it's it's an epidemic and it's really bad so people feel like they
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have to steel themselves against being sold but really if you become a problem solver as opposed to a salesman they in
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their eyes you're still selling but you are you are you you understand their situation you understand what they're
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going through you have a solution it's a solution they should probably jump on right now and if you do what I tell
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marketers is that if you have the solution to your prospects problem or you or you have an answer to whatever is
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ailing him in life or whatever is keep holding him back and you don't use every salesmanship tactic in the book to get
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him to act then shame on you because you are not allowing him to have a better life he may need to be not knocked off
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his game a little bit and left a little vulnerable and you may have to do a few strange excuse me I have a cold so my
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ears plug enough you may have to pull out some tricks and things like you know there's only five left you got an answer
00:25:34
today or it goes away you know the next person not on the list gets it after you or any of those things that people kind
00:25:40
of cringe at we need to do this because again humans are stubborn they're skeptical they're cynical and they're
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afraid of making a mistake if they buy something they're afraid of of having to go because they got to go and explain it
00:25:53
to their spouse a lot of times oh they got to justify themselves to the neighbor the guy so you have to arm them
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for that you got to help them expect help them explain to others why this is a great deal why it makes so much sense
00:26:05
to do it this way and then when they they feel they can they can solve the problems of other people questioning
00:26:12
their judgment then they can start relaxing and thinking about how they're going to this is why we need such long
00:26:17
copy usually to make make the sale you have to overcome a lot of objections a lot of resistance and a lot of obstacles
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in the person's mind to make even a small sale for sure when you're working on a client
00:26:34
campaign how do you what's your process for identifying what the top objections are going to be or do they just you just
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know what they are instinctively know almost never do one of the advantages I had early on in my career was every job
00:26:48
was a new market a new product a new client I didn't start getting repeat clients until a couple of years down the
00:26:57
road I would work for agency so every job would be a new their client would be a new market and everything and when I
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do things outside of agencies I was I was a freelancer for agencies when I was a freelancer in the general market I was
00:27:11
just taking every offer that came along so I was often faced with completely different markets and I would go read up
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on it I would do it I would do the equivalent of a Google search back then then I going to the freakin library but
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now I would do a Google search but I also do what I did at the very beginning which was simple research you interview
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everybody you can you interview the boss if you're a writer and you're writing for somebody if you are the marketer and
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you have to decide how to sell something new in your market or sales are down you have to rethink how to sell whatever it
00:27:47
is you have then you got to sit down you got to do your own research on your own market you're going to find out the
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demographics of the people you're after but even more so than their age and income and where they live and all of
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that it's the psychological stuff if you have any track record at all and this is what I would do with new clients I want
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to interview the owner yes but I don't take what the owner says as gospel because he's often isolated from what's
00:28:12
going on so I want to talk to the feet in the street the salesman if he has any the guys are on the phone with people I
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especially want to talk to the customer service I'm going to find out what the main complaints are I want to find out
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what the main reason people ask for refunds are I want to find out all that good stuff that the owner often is
00:28:30
oblivious of and if you're the owner you better go and talk to customer service a lot all the time find out what people
00:28:37
are complaining about what their questions are things like that these are things you must address because people
00:28:43
who buy and ask for a refund if you can save those refunds by addressing those issues then
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that's as good as another sale so rather than losing one going down one you you keep the sale that's like making a sale
00:28:55
and two people that you go out who are thinking who are one step sideways of them we're thinking yeah bye except I'm
00:29:03
not sure if it will fit my living room whatever the problem is then you address it hey you afraid this is not going to
00:29:08
fit in your living room do this take a tape measure out you know if you got more than ten feet you know get from the
00:29:13
wall something like that just just address those things so you know for for knowledge is is is a powerful weapon how
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talking about powerful weapons the story behind a business or product I think there can be a lot of trepidation about
00:29:32
sharing that it's almost as if all people don't really care about the behind-the-scenes stuff is is the story
00:29:37
of a business or product something that you'd use and how do you tell whether it's going to be a useful sales asset
00:29:44
well usually the story does matter it's called an origin story if you're into
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like Joseph Campbell if it a lot of copy writers get into psychology or NLP or certain things because they want to know
00:30:04
how people process ideas and how they think so psychology is use it but you only need
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pop psychology really so what was the question exactly how often would you use a product or
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businesses story and how do you tell if it's good that's right so so when I talk about the
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origin story a lot of times it does make sense if you were a disgruntled employee of another large company you realize
00:30:32
that company was not meeting the demands or the needs of their customers and you formed your own company then that's it
00:30:38
that's a lock that's a great story you'll notice that a lot of people who sell services talk about the rags to
00:30:45
riches I was living in my car and blah blah blah I actually have a bet exact story it's a real story that I use in my
00:30:53
in my speeches that I give on stages around the world and and it does a couple of things it humanizes you it
00:31:03
also it also brings to the forefront just how powerful this stuff is if you have a rags to riches story or here we
00:31:12
started with almost nothing or anything like that you guys do you have shark tank over there yeah we're going to
00:31:20
target that is the equivalent Dragons Den so you have you have the British version though you'll notice a lot of
00:31:27
those guys go on and enable to to enable to in do it entice the the venture capitalist into funding them they will
00:31:36
tell their origin story here's why I'm doing this and there's a couple and you'll see them blow it sometimes too
00:31:41
because they will try to rely on raw emotion this is my last chance I took every penny I have into this and if this
00:31:48
doesn't work I'm destitute that ain't going to do it but if you say I put my heart and soul into this and when it
00:31:54
didn't work I kept after it and I made it work and I did all the stuff then you're going to get people said okay I
00:32:00
like that that's the kind of entrepreneurial spirit so there's that kind of thing there's
00:32:05
also the just the sheer bonding of letting people know that you're not a corporation you a corporate even a
00:32:13
corporation is other people it's like Elon Musk is is his corporations face and for better or worse
00:32:22
he he helps he helps personalize everything so when people have a Tesla is they see a test on the road oh
00:32:30
there's Ilan's you know you know odd automobile all all of the guys steve jobs all the guys that became faces
00:32:42
their personalities didn't have to be the kind of guy you'd want to sit down and have a beer with at the pub they
00:32:48
could be the kind of guy that yes i want him in charge of things or i believe that what he's doing so
00:32:55
[Music] the the orgeous date depends if you have a boring origin story you know yes I was
00:33:02
born with a silver spoon in my mouth I went to the finest schools my father gifted me this business you know than
00:33:08
that that's not a story unless you could turn it around and make fun of yourself at the end and I took that those gifts
00:33:13
and I immediately ran everything in the ground one day away from bankruptcy how did I turn it around I blank and then
00:33:20
you move on so yeah so it's it's it's kind of like you know the advertising is like a big cocktail party you got to
00:33:26
meet strangers and you have to you know one of the things we talked about with the USP which is the unique of unique
00:33:36
sales positioning term that you have is it needs to be a part of an elevator chat an elevator chat is you're in an
00:33:46
elevator going from the ninth floor to the ground floor with somebody who would be a hot prospect if you could only tell
00:33:52
him in that time from the ninth floor in the first floor what it is you do and what you offer so
00:33:59
let's say you're walking into an elevator on the ninth floor and the guy next to you is talking to another guy
00:34:04
and he says oh yeah I have this huge problem at work I block I don't have enough sales I don't whatever it is and
00:34:11
whatever he says is what you solve then you turn around you go excuse me I couldn't help overhear what do you say
00:34:18
in those seconds going from the ninth for the first floor to get him and get him interested enough to maybe say let's
00:34:25
talk more or to accept your business card and say yes I will definitely call you or to help him understand what's
00:34:30
going on most people can't do that it's very brief it's very it has to has to hit hard so you don't go into it yeah
00:34:40
when I started out you know I was born in a log cabin you can't do that in that very short period of time you have to
00:34:45
get straight to the point then when you get out of the elevator he says I'm interested in what else you got thinking
00:34:50
is then you can start that process of here's how we arrived here it's very interesting I used to be a bla bla bla
00:34:57
you stored for the CIA and then you know that got me into psychology and I learned how people are both well
00:35:02
whatever that story is so the top writers can take any story you have and turn it into an interesting hook
00:35:09
but a lot of people are too blinded by their own stories I used to find my best hooks and a hook is usually in a
00:35:17
headline that like grabs and goes what that can't be here you know what's this idiot talking about now I used to find
00:35:25
my best hooks by getting the the person who is running the company my client to talk about his old stories and he would
00:35:35
often say we have an old story about bla bla bla but I don't like tell him anymore because everyone's bored by it
00:35:41
and what he means is that his wife doesn't want to hear anymore his family's tired of hearing it his buddies
00:35:46
at the pub don't want to hear it his colleagues don't want to hear the stories anymore but his customer his
00:35:52
potential customers haven't heard that story yet and it was really powerful the first couple times he told it he just
00:35:58
told it too often so when I find those stories and it's often in the origins where they came from had a stumbled on
00:36:04
on the on the product or the idea of the formula or whatever there's often a fascinating story that gets ignored
00:36:10
because the owner is tired of telling it and everyone around him a close to was tired of hearing it so he thinks it's
00:36:16
good anymore so there's something about stories are just I noticed a lot of times at seminars when people are a bit
00:36:23
bored and they're playing on their phones and then as soon as the speaker starts telling a story they put their
00:36:28
phones down and they start watching donae and if it's you were saying about them they're having to justify the
00:36:35
purchase their partner it's often the story that they will take to their partner that just seems to say something
00:36:40
about stories which like shortcuts into people rather than just features and benefits I think before writing we
00:36:48
relied on stories for transferring information um your songs and stories and that's how you told people what the
00:36:57
seasons were about how to remember when the plant when to when to harvest when to hibernate you know when you know it's
00:37:06
but do we are wired that we are we are intrinsically wired to light and process stories it puts everything into
00:37:15
perspective for us so all top writers are great storytellers they may be short stories but the more
00:37:22
you can weave it together in a story this is how myths happened this is how legends help and this is how reputations
00:37:30
happen is by having a story you can relate to what's you know like Gary Halbert I think you mentioned that
00:37:36
people in you know know Gary Albert I was in homes Gary Halbert best friend for 30 years
00:37:43
the end people would discontinue tell if you get a hundred people who are Gary Halbert
00:37:53
fans in a room and you asked them to tell the story that kind of epitomizes Gary more than half will tell the same
00:37:59
story maybe 3/4 will tell the same story and the other ones will tell stories that the other ones will refer they'll
00:38:06
say yeah yeah I remember when he autoblog said this or he said that so stories are great memory enhancing
00:38:15
things and you can remember that even though people are being bombarded with advertising you still have to be
00:38:21
memorable out there you have to have some easy shortcut way for people to remember who you are to remember your
00:38:29
name your business name what it is you do because it's it's a people's minds are are being overwhelmed all the time
00:38:38
that's why you want people to act right now other eyes are on your webpage or on your ad or watching your you want them
00:38:44
to act right now because if they walk away salesmen know that the chances of making that sale just plummet
00:38:51
immediately for every minute that they that they do not act right away you're talking about losing 50% of your artists
00:38:59
in another 50 and another 50 in another yeah so true as you were talking about hooks I was just grabbing up some of
00:39:08
your ads I love the amazing secret discovered by one-legged golfer ads 50 yards to your drives eliminate six and
00:39:14
slice and say that's like a straight between the ice hook as soon as I see that I have to read that ad right I
00:39:20
guess today when you know you're imagining someone's recorded a video ad on Facebook so their audience is
00:39:28
scrolling through and then the video starts Auto playing if they got captions you've probably got like five seconds to
00:39:34
try and hook them with something like that how do if we talk about creating video
00:39:40
scripts and videos that sell how can we kind of replicate that big bold crazy headline that just entices people in a
00:39:49
video without this kind of hi my name is blah blah blah and all that kind of boring crap that people start videos
00:39:55
with like how do we take some of that magic and put it into video form well the way I write VSL scripts is the way I
00:40:05
write ads I have a helmet now in an air written ad you would see the bolder font you know heavier you know it's a
00:40:14
headline because it's a bold font like in a newspaper or something then a subhead and then you get into the copy
00:40:19
when you're speaking you use the same words you just you aren't saying a head like you you may phrase it slightly
00:40:26
differently like here's something you don't hear every day and then then you you bomb or write right into it but it's
00:40:32
the same same idea the same copy so so the way to understand that is to get as like the one-legged golfer ad to get a
00:40:40
lot of those ads together and look at them and try to try to understand what the magic that is going on a lot of that
00:40:48
that one-legged golfer ad appeared like a bolt of lightning out of nowhere in the very staid boring golf magazines we
00:40:57
went straight into golf magazines hundred grand a pop we have three pages nobody had ever done that they'd never
00:41:04
seen that the the the ad the media department at the magazine so this was Golf Digest I believe her golf magazine
00:41:12
the biggest one on the sands still the biggest one was sand they tried to talk my client out of
00:41:17
running this app they said this isn't going to work you know we don't want to take you they don't they didn't want to
00:41:24
take 100 grand from these guys because we didn't know it's going to work because that was the first Gulf and I
00:41:29
wrote actually and but I had a pretty good hunch it was going to work and they did and it worked like crazy so about
00:41:36
the third or fourth time they inserted that ad in a row in the magazine then the guys started saying why why do you
00:41:43
keep running this dog and then my client was just you know didn't say anything and they started moving it farther back
00:41:50
in magazine they started trying to do things to sabotage it because they felt it was bringing down the classiness of
00:41:56
their magazine but what what they what that ad did was talked to the regular golfer which is 90 percent of the
00:42:05
audience and what the magazine wanted to talk to was the ten percent of the guys who were young and athletic and had
00:42:11
windmill swings and were really good already and that's who that's where they imagined their readers were would when
00:42:17
in fact their readers were old fat arthritic and couldn't break a hundred to save their lives and that's the guys
00:42:23
we wanted we didn't want those athletic guys who wanted the guys who were intrigued by the idea of a one-legged
00:42:28
golfer oh my god what did you know what he knows maybe so ended the copy of that ad talks about I don't care what kind of
00:42:36
shape you're in and the next ad I wrote was about a guy who had who had arthritis he was like six years old I've
00:42:43
got to find that I'm not as a Brit in Wales away yeah I was like he humiliates PGA pros on the secret of the end it's a
00:42:51
true story that the pros play you know when they're not playing for the camera they played their own games and they
00:42:57
play with their own money if they lose they're not or if they win they're not winning a corporate sponsors might
00:43:02
either win and the other the other guy pulls out his wallet shells out you know 50 grand and this guy was beaten heck I
00:43:07
mean he was fat and he was overweight and his knees were were so you know the doctors wanted to operate immediately on
00:43:13
his knees and that was something that people could really identify with because most golfers like golf and most
00:43:20
golfers I know or older their backs hurt you know they don't have they don't have a windmill swing there there's a lot of
00:43:27
holes in a game they think well they were learn the inside stuff there so quickly
00:43:31
they can start humiliating those young guys that have been humiliating them so this was psychology this was common
00:43:39
sense all the stuff Kant came into play and it's like you and the thing about an ADD whether it's a vesl webpage and a
00:43:48
direct mail letter or something in the magazine or even face-to-face you have to be the most exciting thing he's seen
00:43:56
today you have to be the thing that gets his blood Moody I say his or his or hers you have to be the the one thing that he
00:44:05
remembers today that shocks him out of his complacency that makes that tsunami a blob sit up and go what and you know
00:44:13
to do that and you also have to remember that you know in a big in a big audience you're going to get maybe four or five
00:44:21
percent actually two to five percent of the people are going to respond to you if you can get five percent on it on an
00:44:28
ad that's running that's it that's a major hit that's a control and that means ninety five percent of the people
00:44:34
are paying no attention or aren't interested right now or you didn't somehow flip them so we're not talking
00:44:40
about going to an audience of 100 people and sell making a hundred sales you're going to make two to five sales so you
00:44:46
got a multi so then the game is is scaling your Brethren's try to sell 200 people who try to sell to a hundred
00:44:52
thousand people then the number sales go up and then you're off to the races but you're only garry hobby used to call it
00:44:58
sell to the foxes not the dogs don't worry about what the people who aren't going to buy think or say about your
00:45:05
stuff worry about what the people who might buy you know are going to say and make sure that they buy that's a very
00:45:11
very important difference in the way you look at your aunt the headline in that ad that you
00:45:18
referenced there how does an out-of-shape 55 year old golfer crippled by arthritis and 71 pounds overweight
00:45:25
still consistently humiliate PGA pros and heads head matches for hitting every tee shot further and straighter down the
00:45:32
fairway it's all true by the way and it is kind of funny isn't it to read it you're like sure and there's like a
00:45:39
super headline which says if petite women and twelve-year-old kids using the secret hit perfect drives over 250 yards
00:45:46
imagine what it can do for you are you ever scared that you've pushed it so far it becomes unbelievable
00:45:55
so that client I don't know if you know the story but I had actually retired from business for a little while I quit
00:46:05
working with I was working very closely with Gary Halbert I just took a break I took a couple years off and I formed a
00:46:11
three-piece rock-and-roll band and played in biker bars all over Northern Nevada and what's happened a lot of
00:46:18
funny just dabbling I was living off my royalties so I was living the life this client wanted me to write for them
00:46:24
they were desperate for me to write for them and I said and they said what will it take and I said you know a very high
00:46:31
percentage of every sale you make and you got to run everything I write they said we will do that we will run
00:46:39
everything you write word-for-word as you're writing we will take the heat the only thing they would would they might
00:46:45
want to negotiate certain legal claims but I'm very careful about legal claims anyway so what they did essentially was
00:46:52
take the leash off me up to that point I had never had an ad run got a clip for a client that the client hadn't stepped on
00:47:00
in some way hadn't changed a word in the headline hadn't changed some of the copy hadn't done some stuff they felt they
00:47:06
had to do it it's infuriating and it's what 99% of all copy writers go through they never get to see their stuff out
00:47:12
there as they know it should be done original login original state these guy said we'll do it and I said you're on
00:47:20
and we I wrote for them for one of 20 years and it was most fun I've ever had and I would and they started learning
00:47:29
how to find these hooks so after a while they started coming to me and they found they found a blind golfer there's
00:47:36
actually a blind golfing Association United States I had no idea existed they found a guy who was made the last spot
00:47:43
in the LA open it was 1989 la open I believe but he was on his deathbed the day before literally with pneumonia I
00:47:51
think I can't remember what it was and he got off and he crawled to a qualified for the last spot in the LA help that
00:47:57
made the headline and then they just started finding all these strange stories that I could do and these guys
00:48:01
had videoed the video teaching video or DVD of teaching programs where they could teach you how to chip
00:48:10
how to putt and things like that so every differs a lot in those programs out there but what sold them was the
00:48:16
story mm-hmm so the guy you know the guy who worked with a blind golfer and the blind golfer
00:48:23
taught him things he didn't believe that you know could could work but they worked and they were and he realized how
00:48:28
they could help you know people with good eyesight how they could take the same principles and here's the story
00:48:33
here's the product here off to the races so that went on so as far as pushing it too much I if well I got a call from
00:48:43
that client once and they said John you know the last two ads you wrote that we ran in Golf Magazine
00:48:50
they were also in bodybuilding and supplements and a bunch of different stuff but the golf was really rocking it
00:48:57
for a while there and they said the last couple of ads you wrote neither Russ nor I those were the two owners got
00:49:05
any sleep for like a week waiting for that ad to hit and when it hit you know then you know we were still nervous we
00:49:13
got some you know flak back and things like that but the ads worked really really well and he was leading up to
00:49:19
something he says the reason I'm telling you this is that this ad if we run this ad I'm going to sleep like a baby
00:49:26
tonight and he says so I want you to beef it up so he came back to me and he said make
00:49:32
this more dangerous because he knew that he was going to sleep well when that ad was submitted it wasn't going to do as
00:49:39
well as the other one so because that was that was some interesting stuff so no I have an internal monitor I'd
00:49:47
I'm very empathetic with people a very sympathetic so I understand people and I live a hard life so I understand this
00:49:56
stuff so I have an internal governor that warns me when I'm going too far that said Gary Halbert I used to ride
00:50:04
our best headlines by starting up going too far we would write headlines of stuff that no way would they would
00:50:11
really love the real world there'd be swearing in them sexual innuendo there would be horrific stuff but from that
00:50:19
the genesis of the idea what if we could sort of say that but not in those words what if we could make people think there
00:50:26
was a sexual element here or make people understand the sexual or make people understand these things but not say if
00:50:32
so couches so we would walk it back we'd start out over the line and walk it back till we're just inside the line and
00:50:38
that's the perfect headline most people there write ads they start meek and they try to beef it up that doesn't so if we
00:50:46
want to study the most unfiltered John cotton possible go and check out the golf ads is that we the same
00:50:54
Golf and the self-defense ads yeah one of them are included in my books and stuff yeah so you know I know
00:51:06
if you're giving people my blog or yes you're telling them yeah we link all of that stuff from the shanae's show good
00:51:13
so if you go to a blog my book sir or offer there the blog is by the way the archives are all free and it goes back
00:51:20
to 2004 so that's a and I talk about a lot of this stuff it's all it's all aimed at
00:51:28
entrepreneurs and writers and marketers and business people so it's a hell of a result is one yeah I'm cool are you okay
00:51:36
for another 5 minutes Jones all right sure awesome um so I want to ask you about
00:51:41
emails um I know that you know whether it's the a pile or be pale I think Dan Kennedy's had people sorting their mail
00:51:48
over the waste pipe papers I was Gary Halbert I go hammer party for speech and the kind of story behind that was if you
00:51:59
don't stand out when you're sending people man you're not even going to get read so what's in your sales letter is
00:52:04
completely pointless obviously nowadays we have email and the same kind of principles apply but now
00:52:11
we've got things like Gmail actually filtering out your emails so you don't even get through to people in the first
00:52:17
place how can people cut through the noise in such a kind of brutal world now how can
00:52:25
we actually get our emails read and news things like compelling headlines well dean jackson had the most brilliant
00:52:31
when you you know that game here okay so dean jackson talks about the seven word headline you know are you still looking
00:52:38
for a house in you know cleveland ohio something like that so by by asking intriguing questions by
00:52:46
by tapping into what what the prospect is thinking if you're using house lists you should know what those people are
00:52:54
thinking about what their concerns are house lists can be half-half prospects have customers mostly customers mostly
00:53:01
prospects doesn't matter they've already responded they've gotten on your list you're writing to them that's a chance
00:53:07
to be very very personable how do you get a how do you get grandma to open an email how do you get how do you get your
00:53:15
buddy of you know who's going to meet you at the pub beyond next Friday to open your
00:53:20
email how do you get how do you get people you know and care about to open your emails what kind of subject lines
00:53:25
yeah do you do boring stuff like here's an interesting way to save five bucks on your next shopping spree you know no you
00:53:33
don't do that to the buddies to the guys you know a lot of times it's the outrageous headlines or some version of
00:53:41
you have got to see this something like that or the email subject line is what's most important of course and that is a
00:53:50
mini headline and it's a small short headline Twitter was great when it first came out with the was it 140 whirl of
00:54:00
character count yeah because it forced people to get really really compact and they're thanking Google AdWords when
00:54:07
they came out now it's just Google advertising but and when AdWords first came out then you
00:54:11
know the definite limits what you can do in an ad the line one line two and then line three forced people to start
00:54:19
getting really pithy and start thinking about what they're doing an email is the last refuge of this it's people can
00:54:25
still write longer subject lines but they'd always show up in your inbox or said who else and then there's nothing
00:54:32
else I'd say so you got a you got to think about how how fast you can get in there and and you do you you want to be
00:54:39
the most interesting thing that read the day you want to you want to you want to needle the points that hurt you want to
00:54:46
argue what you want to offer some kind of a story you you want to get in there's all kinds of things you can use
00:54:52
in your emails depending on your relationship with the list if you're going to cold people if you're somehow
00:54:58
got an email list where everyone's cold they haven't heard of you then you got to be you have to approach that as
00:55:04
you're walking into a big party and no one knows who you are no one cares who you are no one's going
00:55:10
to introduce you or try to get somebody to introduce you that's third party validation often that can be you know
00:55:16
here's why Bob's friend if you're going to Bob's list there's why Bob Smiths here's why Bob Smith stocks my ads for
00:55:26
example you know if you're going to Bob Smith's list for example something like that so there's all these different ways
00:55:31
but you have everything the most thought has to go into the end of the subject line to get people in then you continue
00:55:38
the story you don't abruptly say ha now that I've got your undivided attention here's the
00:55:43
old joke about the guys who used to run of ads in the classifieds that would say sex and that says now I got your
00:55:50
attention about this insurance you know opportunity yeah you can't do that although you can try it but you'll
00:55:58
generate he'll will but you just got to think about what can you say that will get someone's interest a head-turning
00:56:06
interest so you walk into a party you say something and people turn around and they look at you it's your job to
00:56:13
understand what irks them what excites them what they hate what they love what they what they're most interested
00:56:23
it what kind of pain they're going through things like that so you don't try to come in in a roundabout way or
00:56:29
lack of days or you come in and you shock people or you let people know you know what they're thinking or you you
00:56:35
know you you you start a conversation that's going to be the most exciting thing that's happened to them today even
00:56:43
an email far as length of email I do both short and long sometimes very short ones leads to a link and then it takes
00:56:50
off so the job of the email is to get them hit the link to go to the blog or somewhere else where the main the main
00:56:57
sales pitch happens so the job of the emails just to get them to hit the link that's all I'm thinking about not
00:57:03
thinking about the sale nothing sometimes the email does some selling if the email is doing the selling then it
00:57:10
needs to be a lot longer and if the story has to be more intense and you're essentially doing a very long email if
00:57:18
Nathan's work they generally don't work as well I do in between emails mostly just don't you know I keep everything
00:57:27
very pithy I deliver what I need to deliver and then I either send them to a link or I try to make the center work
00:57:33
right away antastic thank you John I want to ask you finally about becoming a better
00:57:39
writer there going to be a lot of people who have listened to this and feel inspired to improve their own copy and
00:57:44
folks like yourself or from work from what are called swipe files which is maybe your collection of ads or copy
00:57:50
that you like has been successful so when you're sitting down to write and where there's an email or a Facebook ad
00:57:56
or a Google ad or whatever you have something to work for for people who are aspiring to be as good at their craft as
00:58:04
you are how important is a swipe file and how do you kind of start compiling it is it just stuff that you like or
00:58:11
stuff that you've tested or stuff yeah you know it has to be controls you have to understand what the control as a
00:58:17
control is an ad that goes out and it works and the larger companies are always running competing ads against it
00:58:26
either a/b split test or a B a B C split test they're always running other ads trying to beat the control so the
00:58:33
happiest day in a business owners life is when he has has the first control he has an
00:58:37
and that worked it brought back a profit and it worked really well now his next job is to knock that off to write
00:58:44
another ad that will be better than that at maybe a different writer maybe the same writer maybe a different idea
00:58:51
whatever keep trying to do that and then when that one becomes a control then the next one comes along so swipe files
00:58:57
shouldn't you should always know what the results were of the ad try to find out in the old days if you saw an ad
00:59:06
appear in a magazine over and over again you could assume it was a winner because they wouldn't run a loser online it's
00:59:14
how long the things are by often not often I have gotten clients to call competitors before and just ask them hey
00:59:23
I just know you guys are running a new ad is that working and the person on the phone said yeah it's the best dad we've
00:59:29
run yell in six months and if that's fair that's you know I yeah they're in love for us and that kind of that kind
00:59:36
of research counts it when I was doing direct mail I used to get some of the best direct mail I had an end to what
00:59:45
was working or knocks I knew people who knew people at the agency so I would find out so I never tried to tear apart
00:59:51
research and losers I would look at them and and maybe try to see what went wrong but the ones I studied were the winners
01:00:00
and I'd break them down where you know what is he saying here how is this leading me to the next part a little
01:00:05
things like that so if you can get controls and usually it's by repetition how often they you see them or try to
01:00:16
find out if they worked then you know there are some top writers some a-list writers who only right from their swipe
01:00:23
files if they will reach out and they'll pick up my you know one-legged golfer ad and they're selling mousetraps now or
01:00:30
they're selling said you know insurance and they'll say how could I make that work for insurance what could I change
01:00:35
and they'll actually sort I actually gave a seminar about I don't know ten years ago called license to steal and I
01:00:43
actually taught people how to take Maya's chip just my ads and convert them to whatever they were doing so it
01:00:49
doesn't matter that I was selling golf if you say a the one-legged golfer so the
01:00:53
one-legged golfer if you're selling mousetraps it's going to be something about a guy who is in pest control or
01:01:00
something like that and something on like the blind pest control guy or you know whatever so you
01:01:05
can fit that in so you begin to you understand the little chunks of sales or shift that happen to headlines and copy
01:01:11
all the way through the entire process you say I could I could use that for whatever I'm doing and yeah there are a
01:01:19
number of writers not all of them most of us like to do original stuff but some writers just rely on their swipe files
01:01:25
for inspiration for ideas on headlines and for actual actual headlines with just a few changes to make a work for
01:01:33
them nations yeah absolutely makes hundred percent sense I think the tendency can
01:01:39
be just to grab things that we like and of course like you don't really know if that works you kind of need to get
01:01:44
calibrated first thing you don't want to copy a loser for sure you go what's a great word thank you so much John this
01:01:51
has been amazing yeah thank you so much for time I want to respect your time and we wrapped up with now with an hour so
01:01:59
where can people find out more about you follow your blog and of course regio awesome book yeah just go – John –
01:02:07
Carlton calm it's Jo hm – ciear LTO and calm that's the blog and it's going to be the one stop place you can find out
01:02:17
about consulting all of my books are listed there and again the archives are free and they go back to 2004 and I
01:02:26
would suggest that you sign up at the very top there's a free special report something about eleven blunders and you
01:02:33
sign up there and you will be alerted to when there's a new blog post and you can find out other things that's going on if
01:02:41
I'm going to be speaking somewhere I'm going to be holding a mastermind in some city you'll find out about it and that's
01:02:48
the best way is to get on my list and you know take it from there awesome go go to the blog and feast that
01:02:55
would be the little bit so thank you so much for your time today buddy much appreciated

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